Shoulder Pain from Car Accident

While whiplash is the most well known accident related injury, shoulder and arm pain are also common symptoms after a car crash.  If you have been in a car accident, it is important to take the time to diagnose the damage.  Some injuries will cause pain immediately, though some may take longer to surface.

The shoulder has three main bones, the scapula, the clavicle and the humerus, all held together by ligaments, muscles and tendons.  Because of the great mobility of the shoulder it is more likely to be injured in a crash. Very common symptoms include numbness, weakness, tingling or swelling in the shoulder.  You may experience pain in a specific spot that gets worse with exertion.  The shoulder may be stiff, tender and may hurt at night or interrupt sleep. You may also experience intense, sudden pain in your shoulder area.

Auto related shoulder pain can come in many forms.  The pain that you feel in your shoulder may even be caused by a neck injury.  If the discs or ligaments of the neck are injured they can cause problems in the nerves that go to your arms.  This can cause shoulder symptoms that show up immediately as well as problems that take a while to surface.


Damage to the shoulder may be done by the violent force of an accident.  This can occur in the wrist, shoulder, or arm, and will typically result in pain shortly following the collision. You may have fractured a bone, bruised something, or strained/sprained some part of your shoulder.

The neck and back can become very tense after a collision.  This tension can result in pain pain along the arms and shoulders, though this may take several weeks or even months to develop after the collision.

If you ignore the pain in your shoulder you may tend to favor that arm, or use it less.  If you don’t move your shoulder very much for a many weeks your shoulder will lose its ability to stretch, resulting in a frozen shoulder.  The tissue around the shoulder joint will thicken and shrink.  It is much kinder to your body to address these issues before they get worse or become chronic.

Come in to our office for a consultation as quickly after an auto accident as you are able, we can help with transportation to and from our offices because we understand that your vehicle may not be safe to drive.  An early consultation can address issues before they have a chance to do more damage, and can help to head off these sources of pain that develop weeks or even months after a collision.